SunPower sets new solar efficiency record

SunPower e20 pv module

Records have been tumbling in 2016, and no more so than in June, as three records have been broken for cells and modules using varying different technology. SunPower has announced that it broke its own world record for a PV panel that uses silicon cells.

The record, that was achieved using laboratory cells from SunPower’s X-Series modules, was validated by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. It broke the company’s own record of 22.8% efficiency that was set in February, which clearly didn’t stop SunGrow from striving for improvements.

“SunPower’s X-Series panel was tested by our lab under standard test or reporting conditions,” said NREL scientist Keith Emery. “The module measured 11310.1 CM2 (aperture area) and had a power of 272.5 Watts. We recorded 24.1% efficiency, which is a new record for silicon module efficiency.”

The company, among a number of improvements, has also been working on the asthetics of its panels, to try and make them more attractive to its customers. Conventional solar panels generally have efficiencies between 15% and 18%, so these new high-efficiency modules, blended with the new design, could make a big splash in the market.

“With greater efficiency, we can fit more watts on the roof with the outstanding reliability of the SunPower X-Series solar panel,” commented Peter Cousins, SunPower senior vice president, research, development and deployment. “SunPower’s world record efficiency panels offer customers the best value for energy and superior aesthetics due to our unique architecture.”

Solar efficiency records have been coming thick and fast in 2016, with this now the third in June alone. Earlier in the month ZSW set a new film world record for a CIGS PV cell at 22.6%, then just a few days later, Hanwha Q Cells set an efficiency record of 19.5% for standard multicrystalline modules.